Compressing Flash Movies5/28/2010 12:00 AM By Jeff B
If you’ve yet to encounter the following problem during your web design career, you probably will soon enough. So you’ve discovered your Flash movie is huge. Beyond belief. And it takes forever to load. Obviously, this is a problem. What to do? Well, here are some tips for shrinking your Flash movies.
- Use as few colors as possible and avoid gradients wherever you can.
- Learn how to create and utilize symbols. This is because a symbol, once created, is stored once, and placed many times. Since symbols can be buttons, movie clips, graphics, fonts, or sound files, utilizing the symbol feature can result in some major space-saving!
- Going along with the symbols, instead of generating multiple symbols for different colors, use the effects panel’s tint to create different-colored instances of a single symbol.
- Keep alpha transparency to a minimum.
- Stick to a low number of fonts, and when you’re embedding fonts, choose only the characters or set of characters you need instead of the entire font.
- Limit the different styles of lines you use and try to use the pencil tool more often than the brush stroke tool.
- In the “Modify” menu, there’s an “Optimize” selection you can use to minimize the number of separate lines in your shapes.
- Importing a bitmap image into Flash is something to avoid as much as possible; try to create vector graphics within Flash instead.
- Before importing, resize your bitmap images to the exact size and image quality you want in the end.
- Use looping sounds as often as you can and choose the lowest-possible quality level, in terms of sampling rate, bit depth, and bitrate, if possible.
- Use keyframes and tweening to reduce the number of individual frames for your animation.
- If only parts of the movie are actually animated, don’t animate the entire area, but only that particular part.
There are lots more ways to optimize things, but these are a great starting point. Fast load times encourage readers to stay on the page, so web designer skills like these are great to highlight on your resume; after all, engaged readers typically translate to happy clients. Here’s to smaller SWF files and faster load times!